How to Prevent Overheating When Using a Sauna

man and woman relaxing in a sauna

How do you prevent overheating when using a sauna? The best way to avoid overheating when in a sauna is to drink plenty of water, choose a suitable duration period, select a comfortable temperature between 160-175° F, dress appropriately, and take regular breaks to cool down. See below.

• Hydration: Drink three pints of water
• Duration: 5-15 minutes
• Temperature: 160-175° Fahrenheit (71-79° C)
Dress Appropriately: Loose fitting clothes
• Regular Breaks: Take regular breaks to cool down

1: Stay Hydrated

The first tip to preventing overheating when using a sauna is to stay safely hydrated. This means drinking plenty of water. When you use a sauna you will experience an intense sweat. And, all water lost due to sweat needs to be replaced.

man sitting on a bench in a sauna

You should start drinking water before you enter the sauna. And, you should aim to drink 3 pints of water over the entire session. This means sipping water before, after, and during your time in the sauna. For more see our full guide on How Much Water Should I Drink in a Sauna?

2: Choose a Suitable Duration

Next up, you need to choose a suitable duration. To prevent getting too hot in a sauna, you need to aim for a sauna session period that works for you. In general, beginners should start low. And, as your body begins to develop a tolerance to the heat you can gradually increase the length of your session – if you feel comfortable doing so.

A short session of just 5 minutes works well for most beginners. More experienced users tend to aim for durations of 10 minutes. And, seasoned sauna users may feel comfortable pushing this right out to 10 minutes. Never stay in a sauna longer than feels comfortable. And, if you begin to feel uncomfortably hot, exit and cool down.

For more see: How Long Should You Stay in a Saunaclick here.

3: Choose a Comfortable Temperature

What about sauna temperature? For a traditional sauna, you should aim for a temperature between 160-175° Fahrenheit. This works out at 71-79° Celsius. This is hot enough to experience all the potential health and relaxation benefits of a traditional sauna.

woman in white towels practising how to prevent overheating when using a sauna

Beginners should start low. Aim for the 160° Fahrenheit mark, then gradually work your way up if you feel comfortable doing so. Infrared saunas run at much lower temperatures as they heat the body directly. Aim for a temp of 120-130° for an infrared sauna. Start low if you’re a beginner and allow your body time to adjust to the new heating technology.

4: Dress Appropriately

Another great way of staying cool in a sauna is to dress appropriately. It may sound like common sense but you should wear suitable clothes. Swimwear works best. Swim shorts for men and a bathing suit or bikini for women.

This way, your skin is bear and free to breathe. Natural and quick-drying materials work well. Choose clothing that is loose-fitting as you may experience mild swelling while exposed to intense heat.

Other options include using a towel or even going naked. Many people prefer to sauna using just a towel. This works well as it gives you the freedom to adjust how it sits while you heat up. And, some people prefer to sauna completely naked. This is an option for private saunas.

If you’re using a public sauna – make sure you check beforehand.  This could spare some blushes.  For more, check out What Should You Wear in a Sauna?

5: Take Regular Breaks

Another top tip for staying cool in a sauna is taking regular breaks. It’s going to get hot in there. And, unless you’re an experienced sauna user you’ll need to step outside at some point. The intense heat of a sauna can quickly become overwhelming.

Woman lieing on a bench in a traditional sauna wearing swimwear

If you feel yourself becoming uncomfortable hot, step outside. Don’t try and tough it out. If you want to prevent overheating it’s essential you take a break. Once things get a little too hot to handle, exit the sauna and allow your body time to cool down. A short break of 5 minutes works wonders for most people.

6: Take a Low Seat

Did you know the position of the seat you choose in a sauna will affect how hot you get? It’s true. If you want to stay cool in a sauna choose a seat in the lower bench. Most saunas come with two benches. One high and one low.

Heat rises. And, if you sit on the top bench you will experience a more intense heat compared to sitting on the lower bench. If you want to prevent overheating in a sauna, take a low seat. Or, if you begin on a high seat and need to cool down, jump down to the lower seat. It’s an easy way of adjusting the level of heat your body is exposed to.

7: Use a Sauna Hat

Have you tried using a sauna hat? It’s a type of hat that is specially designed for use in a sauna. A sauna hat protects the top of your head from the most intense heat in a sauna. It acts as a shield and helps keep your head a little cooler.

woman wearing a sauna hat

If you’re struggling with the level of heat in a sauna and need something to help you cool down, try a sauna hat. Most people use them to allow them to stay in a sauna for linger periods. My shielding their head from the most intense heat at the top of the sauna it helps people enjoy linger sauna sessions. For more see our full guide to Sauna Hats.

8: Listen To Your Body

One of the best ways to prevent overheating in a sauna is to listen to your body. Your body will let you know when it’s had enough and it’s time to get out. If you begin to feel uncomfortable in any way you should leave the sauna. Step outside and allow some time for your body to cool down naturally.

Common signs that you’re beginning to overheat are feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous. Other more serious indicators include elevated heartbeat, flushed skin, or difficulty breathing. These are symptoms you definitely do not want to experience. The best advice for avoiding overheating in a sauna is to get out right away if you begin to feel unwell.

9: Professional Medical Advice

Another top tip on how to prevent overheating when using a sauna is to seek professional medical advice before using a sauna. If you have any underlying health conditions or have any concerns what so ever, you should seek the advice of a medical professional.

man resting in a sauna

There may be an underlying health condition that prevents you from using a sauna safely. The best approach is to err on the side of caution. Seek medical advice. And, avoid any unnecessary dangers.


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About the Author


• Health & Wellness Consultant

Ellie is a fully trained and highly skilled massage therapist. Hailing from sunny Florida, she brings a wealth of expertise to the health and wellness realm. She holds a LST qualification from the esteemed Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences and specializes in techniques that promote relaxation and healing.

Her experience extends beyond massage and encompasses a diverse range of therapies including infrared sauna. She developed her expertise at the Equinox Sports Club in San Francisco and has led sessions in pilates fusion, outdoor run clubs, and vinyasa yoga. Ellie is highly regarded for her ability to tailor treatments to individual needs.

When not immersed in the world of holistic wellness and local sports and fitness clubs she enjoys exploring Florida’s natural beauty and participating in outdoor activities. With her unique blend of expertise, experience, and passion for wellness Ellie looks forward to helping you discover the benefits of sauna and sauna therapy.

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2 thoughts on “How to Prevent Overheating When Using a Sauna

  1. The trick is to get lots of coll down breaks.
    When you start to feel too hot, go outside for 2-3 minutes and then jump straight back in again. This way you will last much longer.

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